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Stephon Gilmore Could Be the Next Charles Woodson

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Stephon Gilmore Could Be the Next Charles Woodson

INDIANAPOLIS––Despite a large crowd gathered around the potential first round draft choice on Sunday, Stephon Gilmore spoke barely above a whisper while not appearing to particularly enjoy all the attention he was receiving.

He was speaking to the assembled group of media at the NFL Combine, microphones necessarily jammed in his face to pick up his barely audible voice. Gilmore acknowledged he was naturally soft spoken.

"That's the type of person I am," said Gilmore at Lucas Oil Stadium. "But once I'm on the field I'm different. I'm not going to try to be something that I'm not off the field."

Between the lines, he's a beast, a slightly smaller version of the Packers' Charles Woodson. Gilmore is 6-0, 190 pounds compared to Woodson's 6-1, 202 pound stature, but their style of play is similar.

The comparison between the two has been made by many Draft analysts, and the South Carolina cornerback concurred.

"I like Woodson a lot because he can play outside and inside and he takes pride in tackling," said Gilmore. "He's a smart player, and he blitzes a lot. I like to blitz."

Anyone who knows Woodson knows about his physical nature, how he's not afraid to mix it up at the line of scrimmage, tackle bigger running backs head on and attack quarterbacks dropping back to pass.

The same goes for Gilmore who actually led the Gamecocks in tackles his sophomore season in 2010 with 79, a rather rare feat for a cornerback.

"I like to tackle a lot," said Gilmore. "I think most corners don't like to tackle. I like to make plays on the ball, and sometimes I try to strip the ball. I just try to be a complete corner."

Over the course of his collegiate career, Gilmore has racked up some impressive statistics that include 181 tackles, seven sacks, seven interceptions, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

And that's only through three years. Gilmore is a junior entrant into the NFL Draft and is vying to be the third cornerback taken after LSU's Morris Claiborne and Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick. He's part of the next tier that includes North Alabama's Janoris Jenkins and Virginia's Chase Minnifield.

For as much as Gilmore resembles Woodson, it isn't out of the realm of possibility that the Packers could select him to be Woodson's eventual replacement.

Woodson will be entering his 15th year in the NFL in 2012 and although he was voted a first-team All-Pro selection and tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with seven, his coverage skills have diminished.

Around him, fellow cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Sam Shields had down years as well. The Packers gave up the most passing yards in NFL history due to a combination of poor pass rush and lacking coverage.

Green Bay will be looking to bolster their defense during the Draft in April and Gilmore very well could be available with the 28th overall pick.

Gilmore said he believed he had an interview scheduled with the Packers on Sunday at the Combine. And as far as the workouts go, Gilmore impressed on Tuesday. He ran a 4.40 40, a time bettered by only two other cornerbacks (UCF's Josh Robinson and LSU's Ron Brooks).

Amazingly, Gilmore's best days might still be ahead of him. He was a high school quarterbacks that shifted to defense once in college where he played for only three years. But he thinks that can be used to his advantage.

"You understand what other quarterbacks are trying to do to you," said Gilmore, "so you move to defense and you'll be that far ahead."

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (21) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Jon's picture

Nice article but I do not like the title,Brian you are stretching a little bit there. Woodson is a Hall of Fame type player and won the Heisman in college.

Brian Carriveau's picture

Take it a little bit figuratively too.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Sure looks like your just hating on Brian today. What's wrong Jon? Let's talk about it.

GBP 4 LIFE

Adam's picture

Great article, Gilmore looks to be a good player, hopefully he make it to pick 28.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

My heart's set on DL or OLB at 28. Which means it won't be either... Did you guys see Poe run yesterday? Holy shit! 346 lbs at 4.87! Don't see him lasting til 28.

GBP 4 LIFE

Tarynfor 12's picture

I don't think a 1st for him but if DL and OLB are not caliber at 28 (very unlikely)I'd still need a nudge to pull that trigger.

packsmack25's picture

Here's hoping we snag this guy. All I read in that guy's responses was "TACKLE." Didn't MM just mention that they want to try and actually do that next year?

MarkinMadison's picture

Amen.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Yessir.

jrunde10's picture

Loving these draft articles, Brian. You're writing them faster than I can read them. I don't think anyone should take the Woodson comparison too seriously and I don't think you meant it that way. I've heard him as a stretch at 28, but if the guy ends up being a reliable starting DB, who cares what his pre-draft value is?

Brian Carriveau's picture

Thank you very much. That means a lot.

Cole's picture

He's saying all the right things that's for sure, but with wood losing his coverage ability every minute won't he be closer and closer to the middle of the field and line of scrimmage? We need cover guys. You don't spend a first on someone you want to replace Woodson in like two years.

packsmack25's picture

Guy runs a 4.4, I think he can probably cover a little too.

Cole's picture

On the other hand you have to take the best player avail. if it's Gilmore, so be it.

packsmack25's picture

Watching interviews this guy did in college, and he seems to be pretty level-headed. He also has a nervous tick where he sniffs between sentences, which is pretty funny to watch.

cow42's picture

i see a lot of people mentioning that woodson's ability to cover has diminished.

better not write that without supporting it with more in-depth analysis.

is it his balance, his change of direction , his straight-line speed, his ability to flip his hips, his balance, his initial jam off the line, his ability to read routes, his ability to redirect a receiver?

last time i wrote anything to the affect of "his coverage skills have diminished". i got straight - up blasted.

just sayin'.

Brian Carriveau's picture

If I did it, I'd just be repeating what Bob McGinn said here:

http://www.jsonline.com/packerinsider/112135884.html

Patric's picture

Like this guy. But was wondering what you think about Coty Sensebaugh kid looked smooth and fluid in all the drills at the combine. Late round pick with some coach him up ability?

Brian Carriveau's picture

Not very familiar with him yet, but I'll try to research him a little more as we get closer to the draft.

Patric's picture

Please do! I just saw him look good at the combine, wanted to look at more tape of him but unfortunately kinda hard to find for non-scouts/coaches and stuff when they're projected 6th round (pre-combine anyways..)

Lars's picture

Great read and refreshing to see a projection outside of OLB/DLine.

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